Alien Trespass has clearly been constructed as a homage to It Came from Outer Space (1953). There is the astronomer who sees a meteorite come down in the vicinity of his desert hometown, the alien shaped like a giant eyeball, the aliens who take over human bodies but eventually prove to only be doing so in order to repair their spaceship and go home again. Indeed, Alien Trespass quotes whole scenes of It Came from Outer Space the meteors wobbly trail down through the sky, the two old timers encountering the alien out on the desert highways, even the town diner as gathering locus for the locals to express opinions and fears about what is happening. Alien Trespasss other major source of homage is The Blob (1958). A poster for the original appears on the wall and the teenagers go to a screening at one point (although the film historian in one kept nitpicking about people going to see The Blob, which was not released until 1958, when the film has a stated setting of 1957). The scenes with the old timer (Tom McBeath) clearly evoke Olin Howlin in The Blob, as do the kids earnestly trying to get the authorities to take what they saw seriously, a regular theme of 1950s science-fiction in efforts like The Blob and Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957). The movie theatre scene does lead to an ingeniously clever piece of intertextural playfulness not unakin to the opening moments of Scream 2 (1997) that replicates the scene from The Blob where the alien monster invades a movie theatre, which takes place in a theatre that is actually screening The Blob with everything naturally being played out against the same scene up on the screen.
Alien Trespass is clearly a film that has been put together by people with an intimate knowledge of and love for 1950s science-fiction films. The script feels as though it has distilled a bunch of elements instantly familiar to almost any 1950s SF film the pipe-smoking scientist in horn rim glasses and tweed sports jacket with a wife who dutifully toils over the kitchen stove; the cheesy tentacled rubber monster; the flying saucer and its inhabitant who is outfitted in a shiny spandex suit a la Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951); the recurring 50s theme of the kids who see something but whose reports are dismissed by the authorities who only regard them as troublemakers and pranksters; people being taken over by alien body snatchers who are then tempted by ordinary human life, especially the notion of love, which is alien to them; the eerily trilling theremin score and so on.
One sits down to watch Alien Trespass suspecting more of the same parody of 1950s science-fiction movies as with any of the abovementioned modern titles. However, you soon find that what you are watching is quite different to any of these. The film recreates the 50s period, the corny UFOs and monsters, the clothing, characters and so on in exacting detail. And it sources a great many movies of the era. Oddly, the one thing we dont get is a film that is poking fun at and parodying these films. All the actors involved seem to be taking their performances seriously, as opposed to playing comic caricatures in a send-up. The intended result is more one of homage with at most tongue very mildly planted in cheek. The feel is more one of recreating a lost period of filmmaking than it is ever about spoofing its technical shortcomings, cheesiness or cliches. One has become so used to the parody of the 1950s science-fiction genre that it takes some time into the film to get over ones puzzlement at the failure of any gags to appear.
It is a loving homage that has been conducted. An enormous degree of care has been placed into replicating the clothes, props, vehicles, sets and colloquialisms even the colour processing of the film. The posters were all designed in the guise of lobby stills from the era, while the dvd comes accompanied by a series of mock featurettes, which pretend to be modern news clips about the unearthing of the print of the film, as well as faked old newsreel footage interviewing the stars and their modern descendents (with the films actors playing both parts). The end result is surprisingly appealing not a parody or a spoof film but an entire film made in the style of a bygone era that gently immerses us in the experience of watching a film the way it must have been back in the day.